James Burnett

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from James Burnett, a first-year apprentice at Christ Church Edinburgh in Craigentinny.

James BurnettWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
I worked for a charity based in East Lothian called ELCAP where I supported a young adult with additional support needs towards independent living.

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
At Cornhill I’m learning invaluable Bible handling skills. The main focus of our studies is to be able to understand the Bible as accurately as possible through working out what exactly the author’s purpose was in writing each passage. We are then trained in working out the most helpful and effective way to communicate the truths each passage contains while also appropriately applying those truths to our audience.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
Since starting at the beginning of September I’ve had the privilege of speaking at our lunch club which is a weekly outreach event. I’ve been able to lead our weekly prayer meeting twice and organised our church weekend away and led the programme. I’ve also led and preached at Sunday services.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
The most important thing I’m learning is how to preach God’s Word faithfully. It’s been a privilege and a highlight to be given opportunities to preach, and I’m grateful to the many people who offer me helpful feedback. I already feel that my preaching has improved greatly through the combination of Cornhill and honest feedback from those who care and want to see me grow.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
My minister, David Court, is currently on sabbatical so in the meantime Ali Sewell from Haddington Community Church is mentoring me. Ali has a real gift in preaching God’s Word and pastoring God’s people and it’s a real blessing to have the opportunity to be mentored by him. He did Cornhill a number of years ago so as well as being able to offer help and advice in regards to church-related things he can also do the same in regards to my time at Cornhill.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
After my apprenticeship I’m very open to whatever I feel God calls me to. At the moment I feel as though I will go to ETS to study Theology but if I feel God closes that door and opens a different one I’ll be happy to walk through it.

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like James, you can find all the information here.

 

 

 

 

Robbie Laidlaw

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week Robbie Laidlaw shares his experience as a first-year Ministry Apprentice at St Silas Church, Glasgow.

Robbie Laidlaw

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
I was a Relay Worker with UCCF, based a Glasgow University Christian Union, and before that I studied Computer Science at Aberdeen University. 

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
It’s great to be able to learn from such experienced lecturers, learning how to teach the Bible effectively. A real highlight has been working through Exodus and seeing how the book works together and good ways to preach through it and learn from it ourselves.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
I work alongside the teenagers and the students; I spend my weeks preparing study material for the groups for teenagers. This term we have been looking at Exodus and Acts. I also get to spend time meeting up with students and discipling them through reading the Bible together.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is what church ministry looks like – from the team dynamic of the staff to the responsibilities that come with being in a position of leadership in some form.
A real highlight for me has been working through Exodus with one of my one-to-ones. Being able to read through that and learn together what it means for us practically today, and also seeing his eyes open to how God reveals himself in this book has been wonderful. 

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I meet with Martin, the rector, every two weeks to discuss workload and then to study Ephesians together. It’s a great chance to learn from him and his experiences here at St Silas. I’ve been learning what it looks like to develop and lead a Gospel-focused ministry. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I am unsure just now, but would like to explore further ministry opportunities, working with either students or teenagers. (or both!)

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Robbie, you can find all the information here.

Struan Yarney

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we meet Struan Yarney, a first-year ministry apprentice at Trinity Church Aberdeen.

 

Struan Yarney

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Before I started with Trinity, I worked with UCCF doing their mission and discipleship program called Relay at Robert Gordon University. Prior to my time with UCCF I studied history at the University of Aberdeen for four years.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I’ve been on the Cornhill course since September and am thoroughly enjoying my time there. It’s a real encouragement being in a class full of people who are there to submit to the authority of God’s word and are passionate about trying to teach and preach it faithfully across Scotland. Our classes are currently taking us through a Bible overview, a study of the book of Exodus, as well as instructions in preaching. The detailed study and unpacking of the book of Exodus has been a particular highlight so far.


What does ministry look like day to day?

As the cliché goes, no two weeks or even two days look the same in ministry with many varied tasks often popping up. However, the usual constants are helping lead student suppers (either doing a short talk or lead a bible study) and being part of staff meetings. Fortnightly, I meet with the minister and assistant minister for further study of something we’ve each read in the lead up to meeting. This has been a wonderful opportunity, not least to be able to pluck both of their brains about various ministry things! Other ministry opportunities include preaching, leading services, doing 1-to-1 Bible studies, and visiting older folks in the congregation.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
One of the things I’m learning is the importance of knowing people well in order to minister effectively to them. It seems like quite a simple thing, but more and more I’m learning how crucial it is if I’m going to serve my brothers and sisters well in encouraging them and when teaching them, whether that be in student suppers, 1-to-1’s or preaching. Particular highlights have been doing further theological studies with David (Minister) and Will (Assistant Minister) as well as continuing with student suppers and just seeing a growth in relationships and growth in love for God’s word together.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
David Gibson mentors me and I think he’s been key in helping me see the importance of knowing people well in order to minister to them. Alongside that we’ve spent some helpful time looking at Paul’s narrative of pastoral ministry and a book on ‘The Pastor as Minor Poet’ with Will.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not 100% certain on what I’d like to do post these two years with Trinity. I’m currently torn between going back to work with UCCF as a Staff Worker or going into some form of secular work.

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Struan, you can find all the information here.

 

 

Lucy Thompson

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Lucy Thompson, a second-year apprentice at Chalmers Church, Edinburgh.

Lucy ThompsonWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
I did Relay with UCCF in Stirling, and prior to that studied Geography in Dundee University.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I am studying at Cornhill and absolutely loving it! Currently thinking about the ‘shape of pastoral ministry’; what is it biblically speaking, where are our natural strengths and weaknesses, how can we grow and encourage one another in this area, how do men and women differ, how to minister to different age groups, etc. It’s proved to be an encouraging and valuable module.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
A lot of the ministry I get to be involved in is with students. I co-lead a Bible study group of about 10 undergraduate girls. I meet up regularly with a couple of them to read the Bible 1-to-1, and check in semi-regularly with the others to see how they are doing in their walk with Jesus. I teach the 6 year olds weekly in the Sunday School, which has been a special joy to see their love for God grow, and how good they are at asking each other and me questions. I help out at Impact (youth club) every other week, my first time working with teenagers.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
I’m increasingly seeing how rich God’s word is! The cliché is true of the more you know, the more you realise how much you don’t know. This has been made especially clear through group apprentice training sessions I think. The sessions help spur me on in reading God’s word, reminding me of the riches it contains, giving me glimpses of how as a Christian I can be captivated by God’s word for however long I live and always keep seeing something new and amazing about who God is, being reminded of something I had forgotten or misplaced, something new about what he has done, what he is doing and what he will do. That might all sound a bit abstract but the implications aren’t. It makes me hopeful when I do my daily Bible reading that God is speaking to me, and there is something he is saying that I can cling to or meditate on throughout the day. In turn it means I know how rich God’s word is to feed the people in Chalmers I minister to, allowing me to point them more clearly to Jesus. The sessions also help remind me of the crucial connection between learning about God and turning that into praise and worship and thankfulness.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
Roger and Jessi Day mentor me (Assistant Minister at Chalmers and his wife). I’m learning so much from time with them, but what has struck me particularly over the past few months is how they have consistently not just tried to help me practically, but they’ve always pointed me to back to Christ and his love and sufficiency for me. By receiving that myself I hope I am learning how to do the same for others.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m still trying to figure this out, but longer term I would love to be and have been encouraged to be involved in ministry in a full time capacity, perhaps as a women’s worker in a local church.

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Lucy, you can find all the information here.

Caelan Barnes

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Caelan Barnes, a second-year ministry apprentice at St Andrews Free Church in St Andrews, Fife.

 

Caelan BarnesWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
I studied Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews.

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
In general we’re learning how to handle scripture that we might effectively teach it to other people. Recently we’ve been looking at Old Testament narratives, Revelation, and John’s Gospel, as well as the more systematic topics of union with Christ and aspects of pastoral ministry.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
Most of my work revolves around three things: administrative tasks, preparatory work for teaching engagements, and then enacting that work in the teaching of scripture to others. On the administrative front I organise our monthly student lunches as well as maintain the church’s website, make service sheets, and any other tasks that the top brass assign me. As for the teaching situations that I’m preparing for, they include preaching, Sunday school, student Bible studies, and 1-to-1 discipleship. All in all it’s a rather mixed bag! 

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
It’s difficult to isolate one thing because as I’ve learned: ministry is rather varied. I think the biggest thing I’ve grown in though is my ability to teach biblical truths in various contexts. Be it in the pulpit, Sunday school, student Bible studies or 1-to-1 discipleship situations I have grown much in my ability to helpfully and clearly guide others to the truth.

There’s two things I enjoy particularly though. First, studying God’s word, particularly the initial stages of understanding the passage and then nuancing and sharpening my application later on in the preparation process. Second, helping others to see for themselves how the Bible shapes their lives. Often individuals can be struggling with a certain issue that’s only symptomatic of something deeper that they don’t realise. Helping them to see this for themselves by asking good questions and then guiding them to the application of scripture to that situation is very rewarding. It also helps me grow in my godliness as I frequently unearth subterranean issues in myself while I’m helping people unearth theirs!

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I am mentored by Hamish Sneddon. As he’s mentored me I’ve been learning perseverance in the strength that Christ gives us as we carry out the work of his gospel. I’ve found my time as a ministry trainee difficult and constantly returning to why we do it and who’s power we do it in has been a recurring theme in our supervision meetings.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
At this juncture in my life I don’t think further formal ministry is the immediate next step. That’s not to say I’ll never do it, I just don’t think now is the right time. Instead my current plan is to return to studying in St Andrews, transitioning into philosophy, whilst continuing to serve in as large a capacity as they’ll allow me at St Andrews Free Church.

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Caelan, you can find all the information here.

Kirsty Scott

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Kirsty Scott, a first-year ministry apprentice at Hawick Baptist Church in the Scottish Borders.

Kirsty ScottWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
For the past 4 years I have been working as a primary school teacher in the Scottish Borders.

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
So far we have been working through a series of Bible Overview lectures tracking God’s incredible salvation plan. Within our smaller teaching groups I have had the opportunity to prepare and deliver some talks expounding Bible passages. My favourite part so far has been an in-depth study of the book of Exodus.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
This term my day-to-day ministry opportunities are wrapped up in learning, planning, and preparations. My current priority is that I will be able to build relationships with a new core of young people in Hawick. I have also scheduled in meetings over the next few weeks to build relationships with gospel-minded Christians in the town who are already working in schools to see how I can support this work. I organised events in the lead up to Christmas, for example, a Christmas Craft Afternoon in order to invite people of all ages to our Christmas services and a Christmas Party for young people as a promo for what will be happening in Youth Group in 2020. I am  developing a teaching plan for children and youth that we can run with in 2020 and part of this preparation involves delivering some training for our Sunday school leaders.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
Making myself available for gospel opportunities! I have been praying for opportunities to meet young people. I was recently at a Christians in Sport training and equipping night and as a result I met a lady who is involved with a junior running club and so hopefully I will be able to have an opportunity there to use my love of running to go and help with this running club and meet young people in the town.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
Martin Smith (Lead Pastor, Hawick Baptist Church) and Agnes Brough (Cornhill Scotland) mentor me. We have a focus on three big principles: character, competence and convictions. The apprenticeship is an opportunity for me to grow in all three areas and to help me on my way we have identified some helpful reading material for me to work through and provide feedback on during my supervisions. This term I am reading a book called Christian Youth Work by Mark Ashton and Phil Moon to help me as I seek to develop a gospel centred foundation for our youth ministry.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I hope that there will be an opportunity for me to continue to work for or at least continue to serve the local church in whatever capacity is needed.

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Kirsty, you can find all the information here.

 

 

 

James Amour

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. Today’s post introduces James Amour, who is a first-year ministry apprentice at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh.

 

James Amour

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
I worked in a marketing agency as a digital designer. 

 

What are you learning on your study programme at Cornhill?
I’m learning that my body doesn’t like early starts as well as how to study the Bible, how to interpret passages truthfully, and how to faithfully and effectively convey these truths to others. 

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
My days are very varied but an average day would consist of some reading and studying in the morning. Then, in the afternoon I might have a meeting or study with someone. In the evening I might have a ministry to attend such as the student ministry or home group study. 

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
The most important thing I’m learning is what goes on in a church behind the scenes. It’s quite humbling to see the paid staff as well as church members so committed to their roles and tasks. Everyone is working hard and diligently to see the people of Edinburgh come to Christ. It’s inspired me to be a red-hot church member wherever I end up in the future. 

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
My mentor is Liam Garvie. Meeting with Liam on a weekly basis is undoubtedly the highlight of the week. He teaches us how to read and study the Bible for ourselves, we review and discuss books, and ask him questions about ministry that might be on our minds. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not yet sure if I would like to return to secular work or be involved in paid-ministry. 

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like James, you can find all the information here.

Rowan Corrigan

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Rowan Corrigan, a first-year ministry apprentice at St Columba’s Free Church in Edinburgh, tells us about her experience as an apprentice so far.

 

Rowan Corrigan

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Before my apprenticeship, I studied Physics for 4 years at Heriot Watt before spending a year on the Relay programme with UCCF based at Napier University. 

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
Cornhill is really helping me to be able to listen to God’s voice. I’m really enjoying digging so deeply into the Bible and unpacking its riches. Every week, I feel as though I am blown away by Jesus and His fulfilment of the Old Testament. It’s helping me to love Jesus more. 

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
The highlight of my week is always the teenager groups. It is such a joy to see so many young people excited and being built up to speak and live for Jesus throughout their years at high school. I spend a lot of time during the week meeting with a variety of women from around the congregation and am enjoying continuing to meet with students. 

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
A massive thing that I am learning right now is seeing how much of working in a church is learning to listen to God and to watch Him at work within the congregation. It’s an encouragement to see that all of the work is led by God and not by man. It is such an encouragement to watch the Spirit doing amazing things around the church daily.  

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I am mentored by a woman at my church who I have been meeting with for the last 4 years. By openly talking about my struggles, I am often reminded and encouraged that we do not face the Christian life alone, and that we all walk together to bring us closer to Jesus. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not really sure what my plans will be post-apprenticeship. I’d love to stay in ministry, potentially as a women’s worker for a church.

 

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Rowan, you can find all the information here.

Benjamin White

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Ben White explains his work as a first-year ministry apprentice at Cornerstone Community Church in Stirling.

 

Benjamin White

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Last year I spent ten months working with UCCF, through the ‘Relay Programme’. Prior to that I studied ‘International Relations and Geography’ at The University of Aberdeen.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I spend Monday and Tuesdays studying at Cornhill. It’s split into two aspects; we have lectures where we have been studying Exodus, looking at a Bible overview and how to preach. The other aspect is preaching class, where we give expositions of a given passage ourselves. It has been a real joy to study God’s word in more detail and to have an opportunity to think about how one expounds on God’s word. It’s a really great time!

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
I work alongside Cat Thomas at Cornerstone and together we head up the Student and Youth ministry. That takes up the bulk of our time but I also help with the ‘Mainly Music’ toddlers’ group on a Friday, I attend and sometimes lead my Church Community Group, alongside being involved with many other aspects of the church family. 

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
It is hard to condense what have been a really excellent two months so far. I really love Cornerstone and count it as a blessing to be doing a ministry apprenticeship here. We have been preparing a Bible overview with the youth and it has been great to show them how the Bible fits together and how parts of the Bible that they thought dry and dull are filled with excitement and ultimately point to Jesus. With the students we are looking at what it means to be a Christian; it’s been really encouraging to see them challenged by God’s word and to how they are responding to it. I am learning how to prepare and teach different sorts of biblical literature. The Bible overview has been particularly challenging in trying to distil the key themes of the Bible, but it has been a rewarding process and my own understanding of God’s word is growing.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I am mentored by our Pastor Calum Jack. I really enjoy our time together every Wednesday, but it can often be challenging reflecting on where I am not honouring God with my life. I have always struggled with perfectionism and it has been really great learning how to work to God’s expectations not mine. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I have a number of different plans that I am pursuing. I know that wherever I end up I want to be proclaiming Jesus’ name in whatever opportunities I have.

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Ben, you can find all the information here.

 

Kat Andrews

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week Kat Andrews shares about her experience as a second-year ministry apprentice at Bruntsfield Evangelical Church in Edinburgh.

Kat Andrews

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Before the trainee programme I worked in museums doing collections care/conservation. Most recently I worked for the National Trust for Scotland in a couple of their Edinburgh properties.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I am studying at Cornhill as part of my apprenticeship. I’m learning a range of different things, but one of the things that most stands out is that I’m getting a better grasp of how the whole Bible fits together and how the wider context helps us understand it. I’m also enjoying the opportunity to study some of the more difficult parts of the Bible, for example we recently looked at Revelation. We also discuss some of the practical aspects of what working in ministry is actually like, which is really useful. Getting to spend time with other people who are doing something similar to me is also a great opportunity to share experiences and support each other.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
Day-to-day my ministry at Bruntsfield is quite varied. My main focus is student and youth work, along with some more general women’s ministry. I meet with students to study the Bible one-to-one and help organise and run student lunches. I also do Bible studies with the teenagers during Sunday services. I lead a weekly women’s Bible study and also help with the food bank we run. The rest of my time is spent preparing the Bible studies and my Cornhill assignments.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
I think the most important thing I am learning from the trainee programme is a growing love for God and for teaching his word. One of the greatest joys in the last year or so has been seeing women of all ages grow in their relationship with God as we study the Bible together.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I meet regularly with Alistair, the assistant pastor at Bruntsfield, to discuss my work and different areas of ministry. I also meet regularly with an older lady in the church and, externally, with the women’s worker from another church.

This, along with spending time working alongside the other members of the staff team, is giving me a growing understanding of what working in ministry is like and is helping me to develop my own gifts.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I have a growing desire to see teenagers and students particularly, as well as women in general, grow in their relationship with God and develop their gifts whilst serving the church. After the trainee programme I would, God willing, love to work for a church in a women’s/student worker role.

 

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Kat, you can find all the information here.